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Consciousness

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By Michael Jenkinson

Michael Jenkinson died in August 2015. He wrote this article several years before, and enclosed it with a letter to the Editor, but it was mislaid and has only come to light recently

It is all about citta, as Phiroz would say, about consciousness, our consciousness where everything arises.

The transformation of consciousness is the transformation of the human heart from the very depths of being, our thoughts, insights, judgements, fears — the texts have it — where we experience 10,000 things each day.

The three fires of delusion, wants and anger transformed into a new natural state of mind — is it too much to ask of us? I think not.

On page 5 of Holistic Consciousness we read:

Since there are those with inquiring minds, people eager to explore, recourse must be made to words and concepts, and even if these are lame and inadequate, they can be useful to those who care sufficiently.

On page 67 we read:

Each man, by virtue of the fact that he is unique — there is no one else in the world quite like him — must carve out his own path and tread it like a true hero, so that the fruitive culmination of his virtuous living is the transmutation of his usual separative and isolative consciousness into the beacon of holistic consciousness.

On page 38 there is the same message:

So “I” am an immortal spirit residing in a temporal body and endowed with a mind! Such is my self-consciousness of myself, and I assume that everyone else in the world is self-conscious in much the same way. Unbiased close observation shows that the innumerable multitude is in fact isolatively and separatively self-conscious, even though many of us may love family members and/or friends very deeply indeed. Only holistic consciousness is free of any sense of separateness or otherness with respect to that which we have called the not-self.

How often we have seen the struggles of life and death between people and the distress that is caused. An example is a loving mother and her very sick child — much love, much sorrow and pain here, much wishing things were different, and much isolative, separate self-consciousness too.

The need is always to be in the Here-Now.

Page 82 refers to the teachings of Zarathushtra:

Now unto eager listeners I will speak of the two spirits created by Mazda. They are twins; they reveal themselves as contraries in thought and word and deed, as the Good One (the Holy Spirit) and the Evil One. Together they make Life and not-life. Thus creation’s purpose is fulfilled.

Ahunavaiti Gatha, Ys, 30.1.3

Phiroz goes on about Ahura Mazda and explains things further. It is explained that constant vigilance is indispensable if we are to live the truly human life. When we are unoccupied with good thinking, good feeling, good speaking, good doing, when we are unconscious of the Good, whilst we are not holistically conscious, there is a loophole, an enlarging chink in our psycho-physical process through which evil enters and defiles our thinking-feeling-speaking-doing. So what needs to be done to address this situation?

On page 80 we learn:

Holistic consciousness is not ‘attained’ or ‘achieved’ by a holy one. It supervenes when the organism, purified and well-prepared to sustain the action of transcendent energies, is in a properly receptive state; that is, when it offers the right conditions from ordinary everyday consciousness to change into holistic consciousness.

There is another extremely important topic which Phiroz writes about in less than half a paragraph. To quote from page 72:

Love transcends all fixations. Its expressions are invariably and inevitably perfectly beautiful and pure. The rose of genuine love is not spiked with the thorns of possessiveness, jealousy, exclusiveness or selfish demands. Its open-hearted perfume transforms turbulent world-woe into tranquil happiness. It is the loveliest gift of holistic consciousness to all creation.

The question is, how do we rid ourselves of all our thorns that make us unhappy? By practice, by right meditation, and by living in the moment, here and now throughout the day — so Phiroz says. The things that affect us the most are our states of anger — the energies when they are aroused. We tend to indulge them or push them away.

Phiroz says in The Heart of Religion that we must accept these like a friend and welcome these unwholesome states, really look at them and absorb them into our heart. We must always give ourselves to the job in hand — give ourselves totally, not just coast along.

This self, this I, this me, does not fully understand what the here and now is, it does not know the meaning even of the short word iswhat is. It does not understand compassion, does not understand gentleness or harmlessness, to the degree Phiroz wants us to. The brain does not do holistic consciousness! When the self is pushed or leaned on all its defence mechanisms come back, sometimes in an instant! “I don’t like this, I want, I hate,” — on it goes and all the confusion comes back. Of course we know the cause:

Thou shalt not grasp
Thou shalt not self-indulge (the senses)

If we can really get to grips with meditation and view it as if our lives depended on it, change is possible. All these secret passions are just below the threshold of awareness. The unconscious, composed of all unremembered, unlived, unintegrated experiences must be brought to consciousness and so exhausted or worked out. It is the depth and subtlety of a person — us — that we uncover.

Life is then less and less about thinking and more and more about simply being. If we could do this, I am sure that Phiroz would have been very happy.

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